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By in Latest News Comments Off on Pennsylvania’s official summer adult drink declared by state taverns

Pennsylvania’s official summer adult drink declared by state taverns

Will raise funds for rare childhood diseases

Pennsylvania’s official summer adult drink for 2022 has been declared by a statewide trade association representing the bar industry, adding it will benefit the mission of Uplifting Athletes, a non-profit that raises awareness and research funds for rare childhood diseases.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA), on behalf of the state’s taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants, has declared the Official Pennsylvania Adult Summer Drink for 2022 will be the Holla Sweetfire Jalapeno Bloody Mary. Holla Spirits, a Pennsylvania-based distillery in York, joins the effort and will donate 10% of sales of its Sweetfire Jalapeno brand from June through August to Uplifting Athletes.

Additional funds are being raised through sponsorships that allow a business to attach their name or logo to promotional items featuring the drink.

Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007, harnesses the power of sport to build a community that invests in the lives of people impacted by rare diseases. Since 2007, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $7 Million dollars by engaging athletes in order to positively impact the rare disease community through research and driving action. To learn more about Uplifting Athletes visit www.upliftingathletes.org.

“We are thrilled to be working with Holla Spirits and the PLBTA throughout the summer to bring awareness and drive action for people impacted by rare diseases,” said Rob Long, executive director of Uplifting Athletes.

Holla Spirits founder Patrick Shorb says the idea of an official summer drink for Pennsylvania to benefit a worthy cause makes sense. “We’re excited about this declaration from the state’s taverns, and very happy to see it will benefit research into rare childhood diseases.”

“It’s only natural that Pennsylvania has an official summer adult drink declared by our association,” said Chuck Moran, executive director for the PLBTA. “It’s great we can tie it into a way to help raise funds for Uplifting Athletes too.”

Starting June 1, Moran says patrons should ask their bartender for the Official Pennsylvania Summer Adult Drink of 2022 – The Holla Sweetfire Jalapeno Bloody Mary – when they’re out with friends and family at Pennsylvania establishments. Holla Spirits is an active associate member of the PLBTA.

According to Shorb, the recipe for the drink will be available at www.HollaSpirits.com for those who wish to enjoy the drink at their homes.

 

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Who is Uplifting Athletes

Uplifting Athletes, a 501(c) non-profit, was started at Penn State University after an athlete recognized the struggles a teammate and his family had as a result of a rare disease.

Damon Jones, a member of the Penn State football team, learned of the challenges that teammate Scott Shirley’s family was enduring when Scott’s father, Don Shirley, was diagnosed with a rare disease in 2002. Damon suggested that they do something since they were in a position to shine their spotlight on those who needed a voice.

The Penn State football team rallied around the idea of leveraging a summer strength and conditioning competition into a fundraising event called Lift For Life by opening it up to their fans and the media. They soon realized that the benefits of this new organization were far greater than they had imagined.

Since Day 1, Uplifting Athletes has focused on using the platform of college football to shine a spotlight on the rare disease cause while providing student-athletes a valuable leadership experience as well.

Today, Uplifting Athletes has chapters across the country. All fundraisers associated with Uplifting Athletes fuels its four charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences, and Uplifting Leaders.

Many involved with Uplifting Athletes are former NFL-bound players who had the misfortune of being diagnosed with a disease that ended their career before it even started.

Since its inception, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $7 million to support its charitable mission.

You can learn more about Uplifting Athletes by visiting this link … https://www.upliftingathletes.org/

By in Latest News Comments Off on Can a customer return an unopened bottle to your bar?

Can a customer return an unopened bottle to your bar?

So, you sell six-packs to go? Have you ever had a customer try to return what they purchased? Can they?

Well, recently Tops Market, holder of an “R” license in Warren, Pa., asked the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for their thoughts on the matter. Here’s what the PLCB said in an advisory opinion.

According to the PLCB, while the holder of an R license is permitted to sell malt or brewed beverages in any amount not in excess of 192 fluid ounces in a single sale to be carried off premises, “there is nothing in the liquor code that allows the return or exchange of malt or brewed beverages purchased from a retail licensee for off-premises consumption.”

The PLCB recommended that the licensee contact the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax & Trade Bureau to determine under whether and under what circumstances malt or brewed beverage returns are permissible under federal law.

Furthermore, the PLCB points out that it is unlawful for any licensee to offer, pay, make or allow, or for any licensee to solicit or receive any allowance or rebate, refunds, or concessions in the form of money or otherwise, to induce directly the purchase of liquor or malt or brewed beverages.

However, historically the PLCB has allowed for an exception for a refund policy associated with a product satisfaction guarantee program.

So, put in more simpler terms, as far as the PLCB is concerned, beer returns may only be accepted if the customer is not satisfied with the product.

By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTaverns, licensed PaRestaurants on Philadelphia unmasking again

PaTaverns, licensed PaRestaurants on Philadelphia unmasking again

The following is a statement concerning an anticipated announcement on April 22 that Philadelphia is removing the reinstated mandatory mask mandate. It comes from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

(April 21, 2022) Multiple news reports on Thursday night indicated the City of Philadelphia will end its recently reinstated mask mandate for indoor locations such as taverns, bars, clubs, and licensed restaurants. The announcement is anticipated to be officially made Friday morning, and comes after an apparent vote by the city’s Board of Health.

I’m sure Members of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association will be thankful. Such mandates often put bartenders, servers, and managers in a position of being the mask police, something that they’re not really trained to do. Ask hospitality staffers what it was like enforcing city mandates, and I’m sure many can share stories about patrons who simply did not want to comply. Some may even be able to share situations that felt threatening.

But, while they’ll be thankful, they’ll also be asking questions. What happened between Monday, when the mandate was reinstated, and Thursday night? Was the reinstatement really necessary? If there wasn’t enough confusion this week on masking, the sudden change of mind is likely to have people scratching their heads, wondering about the reliability of formulas used to make the initial reinstatement decision.

Philadelphia’s family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants have been through way too much during the past two years. They deserve better than what city officials did to them on Monday, only to quickly walk back that decision.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on Are mobile bars legal in Pennsylvania?

Are mobile bars legal in Pennsylvania?

Have you ever wondered if mobile bars are legal in Pennsylvania? Well, we have the answer for you, directly from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Recently, a licensee in Johnstown asked if his establishment could convert a horse trailer into a mobile bar, and then use that mobile bar with its current “R” license at different locations that are not on its licensed premise.

An Advisory Opinion from the PLCB on March 28, 2022, suggests it’s possible, but you better know how to do it right.

According to the PLCB, there is no license that allows a licensee to sell alcohol in a mobile bar or similar unfixed location. Licenses are generally issued only for use at specific, identified, stationary locations.

However, there are two ways for an “R” licensee to take advantage of a mobile bar, the PLCB says.

First, nothing would generally prohibit the use of a mobile bar by a licensee to sell alcohol on its licensed premises. So if you have a big licensed property, you may be in luck if you want to try a mobile bar.

Second, nothing would prohibit the use of a mobile bar by the holder of a special occasion permit or an off-premises catering permit, so long as the mobile bar remains on the property that is covered by the permit.

To learn more about a special occasion permit or an off-premises catering permit, click here.

 

This educational licensee update is brought to you by the PLBTA and is funded by annual Member dues. We are making this specific piece available to all licensees as an industry courtesy, and hope that non-members will join our Association and be a part of Organized Taverns. To join online, click here.

By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTaverns Statement: Tavern Gaming Impact on Pennsylvania State Lottery Report

PaTaverns Statement: Tavern Gaming Impact on Pennsylvania State Lottery Report

By Igor Ovsyannykov [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning the 2022 annual report on the impact of tavern gaming on the Pennsylvania State Lottery. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

 

As required by Act 90 of 2013, “The Impact of Tavern Gaming on the Pennsylvania State Lottery” annual report was presented to the State Legislative Budget and Finance Committee today.

Overall, the report is a clear sign that the tavern gaming business model is broken, and not meeting the needs of both the state and tavern owners. Consider the following highlights from the report:

  • There are currently only 45 active tavern gaming licenses statewide, a decrease from the previous year.
  • Since 2013, only 80 establishments have applied for a tavern gaming license with 71 approved.
  • Tavern Games revenue has dropped in the last four years from $1.6 million in 2018 to $1.3 million in 2021 with a low of $856k in 2020.

When tavern gaming was debated prior to Act 90, the Governor’s Office of the Budget estimated that 2,000 establishments would be licensed, generating an estimated annual net revenue of $156 million. The actual statistics are far less than what was anticipated.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association on several occasions in the past four years have indicated in front of legislative committees or through the media that changes to the tavern gaming business model are needed. The limited number of games, expensive fee and tax structure, and little profit made by establishments make it unattractive for the overwhelming majority of small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

Furthermore, although there was a fear in 2013 that it would negatively impact the Pennsylvania State Lottery, the report’s analyst told the state committee today that “tavern gaming did not have a material impact” on the state lottery. In fact, during the last five years, total revenue from tavern gaming was $6.6 million compared to the Pennsylvania State Lottery’s $8.2 billion in revenue.

As we have said in the past and will continue to do so in the future, if the state wants to see better results and collect more money for its general fund, then tavern gaming must be overhauled and made more attractive to establishments.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on Statement: Sens. Laughlin and Yudichak cocktails-to-go bill would help establishments; supported by PaTaverns

Statement: Sens. Laughlin and Yudichak cocktails-to-go bill would help establishments; supported by PaTaverns

Tom Tyler, owner of McStew’s Irish Sports Pub in Levittown

The following is a statement concerning the introduction of SB 1138, a bill to permanently allow the sale of cocktails-to-go. It is written by Tom Tyler, president of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA). Mr. Tyler is also the owner of McStew’s Irish Sports Pub in Bucks County. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

 

Today, Sens. Daniel Laughlin (R-49) and John Yudichak (I-14) introduced SB 1138, a bill that would allow taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants to permanently sell cocktails-to-go.

While cocktails-to-go served as a lifeline during the COVID-19 emergency declaration, it also provided a way for family-owned establishments to expand their product offerings and increase customer convenience. Unfortunately, the end of the emergency declaration also meant the end to these products. This was a loss to both our industry and our patrons.

A recent report from the Independent Fiscal Office paints a clear picture showing our industry was hit hard during the pandemic. Figures from the report are concerning and suggest the industry continues to need assistance as part of its recovery.

By introducing SB 1138, Sens. Laughlin and Yudichak have demonstrated their concern for the future success of small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association and our Members, representing tens of thousands of employees and many more patrons, thank both senators for introducing this bill.

We encourage the state senate to move this bill as is with no amendments.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTaverns, licensed PaRestaurants celebrate another step towards normalcy in Philly

PaTaverns, licensed PaRestaurants celebrate another step towards normalcy in Philly

Wikimedia photo

The following is a statement concerning today’s announcement that Philadelphia is removing the mandatory mask mandate in most places. It comes from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

 

Today, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole announced that Philadelphia was moving to the “all clear level” and thus not requiring masks to be worn at many businesses across the city including Members of our Association.

Family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants are thankful for this change, and for now view it is another step towards normalcy, not only for the industry but also for all Philadelphians and visitors to the city. After nearly two years of being put into the role of enforcer of the city’s hospitality mandates, our Members are looking forward to better times which allow them to instead focus on providing cold drinks, outstanding food items, and a good night out for patrons.

The recent city data and the “all clear” signal are good signs. We hope these build confidence with patrons and bring them back to their favorite locally-owned establishments. But if there is still some hesitancy, our Members won’t discourage them from wearing a mask.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association thanks Dr. Bettigole for the announcement and her dedication to the safety of Philadelphians.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on Statement on Gov. Wolf asking PLCB to pull Russian vodka off shelves

Statement on Gov. Wolf asking PLCB to pull Russian vodka off shelves

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning Governor Wolf urging the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to pull Russian-made vodka off the shelves of state stores. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

 

Today Governor Tom Wolf in a letter urged the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to pull all Russian-made vodka off the shelves of state stores.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association supports the governor in urging the PLCB to do so. This is a reasonable option for the Commonwealth to take to show its disapproval of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the damage the attack has done to world peace.

As far as our Association knows and so that we do not confuse them with “Russian-themed” vodkas, there are a few actual Russian-made vodkas sold in Pennsylvania’s stores. They include Russian Standard and Ustianochka. Russian Standard is owned by Roustam Tariko, a Russian oligarch.

With many great vodka options available, our Association is encouraging Pennsylvania’s family-owned taverns, bars, clubs, and licensed restaurants to avoid using Russian-made vodka for now. It will be a minor inconvenience for some, but national American brands like Tito’s from Texas and locally made vodkas like Holla Spirits in York are good options when mixing drinks that require vodka.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on Statement: PaTaverns and Licensed Restaurants welcome change in Philly’s COVID mandates

Statement: PaTaverns and Licensed Restaurants welcome change in Philly’s COVID mandates

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. He comments on the City of Philadelphia adjusting its COVID mandate on the tavern and restaurant industry. The PLBTA, headquartered in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

Today, the City of Philadelphia announced it would ease mandates on taverns and restaurants that require their patrons to show proof of vaccinations in order to dine in. The adjustments include a four-level tiered system based upon COVID statistics. Mandates would be reduced as COVID statistics improve.

Philadelphia’s improved COVID situation along with hospitality rules being adjusted is welcome news for both the industry and our patrons. It allows our Philadelphia Members to join their colleagues from other parts of the state that never had this type of mandate.

Unfortunately, while such mandates have good intentions to protect the health of individuals, they do come at a cost to communities that are now dealing with higher costs due to supply and workforce issues. In addition, for taverns and restaurants, Philadelphia’s mandates caused stressful scenarios, while putting establishments at a disadvantage compared to neighboring counties.

Yesterday’s report from the Independent Fiscal Office during a budget hearing in front of the state House Appropriations Committee is the proof. It helped paint a picture of the struggle the industry faces. The report showed the industry lost 30,000 employees in Pennsylvania, while also dealing with higher food and beverage supply prices and increased hourly costs of employees.

It’s time for our small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants to have a chance to heal their financial wounds and move closer to normalcy. The decision by Philadelphia begins that process for our Members located within the city.

By in Latest News Comments Off on IFO report shows taverns, licensed restaurants still need help recovering

IFO report shows taverns, licensed restaurants still need help recovering

(Wikimedia Photo: Beer-on-tap by JMacPherson)

Today, materials submitted by the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) to the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee in advance of state budget hearings paint a clear picture exactly how hard the tavern and restaurant industry was hit financially during the pandemic. According to the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, the figures in the IFO report are concerning and suggest the industry continues to need assistance as part of its recovery. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is the statewide political voice for family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

Key Findings Related to Taverns, Licensed Restaurants (Dec. 2019-Dec. 2021)

  • Full-service restaurant industry in the state lost 30,000 jobs between December 2019 and December 2021. (p. 3 of report)
  • The costs for food and beverage purchases (15% of the total) increased in that same time frame, at rates higher than all other segments of the economy except energy and durable goods (which comprise 16% of the total). (p. 5 of report)
  • At the same time, the average hourly cost of employees in the leisure and hospitality industry increased in June 2021 by 7.8% over 2020 and in December of 2021 by 14.9% over the previous year, more than double any other industry. (p. 5 of report)
  • Tax revenues from sales of Malt Beverages this year to date was at $13 million, a year over year decline of -5.9%. And tax revenues from sales of liquor totaled $260 million, a YOY increase of 6.0%. (p. 10 of report)
  • Related to the tavern industry, the Brewers’ Tax Credit was estimated at a value of $5 million in 2021-2022. The report notes smaller brewers can’t fully use the credits. IFO noted: most state brewer incentives place a limit on production and target small brewers, and it recommend targeting smaller brewers going forward. The credit is likely a windfall to large brewers, and the report says Pennsylvania should provide a mechanism for smaller brewers to use the credit better, perhaps by converting it to a grant or making the credit refundable. (p. 20 of report)


PLBTA Statement from Chuck Moran, Executive Director

It’s been a difficult time for family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants for the past two years. Mitigation orders, variants, supply shortages, and workforce issues have set the industry back. Today’s report from the IFO isn’t surprising. It’s something everyone in the industry realizes has happened, but is now confirmed in hard data. Industry costs including supplies and labor have jumped.

As small businesses within the hospitality industry face continued struggles, the legislature has the opportunity to be the hero by passing meaningful legislation that supports family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants. Bills that would provide financial assistance sit waiting for action. In addition, bills addressing customer convenience through industry innovation would be helpful. Our Association has testified in front of state committees on these bills during the past year.

Bills introduced that would be helpful address the following issues

  1. Legislation to increase the liquor discount from 10 percent to 15 percent. This legislation passed the House in 2021 with a unanimous vote. This would be across the board, and have a minimal impact on the PLCB’s profits, but be very meaningful to our members’ cash flow as they struggle to stay afloat financially.
  2. Grants and tax incentives through recently introduced legislation would financially prop up struggling small businesses as part of their recovery.
  3. Legislation to level the playing field for all liquor licensees, and standardize the rules for amplified sound limits at property lines. Modification of these rules would help incentivize our members to expand outside, and allow entertainment which attracts consumers.
  4. Allow business owners more opportunities to get creative with special promotions and happy hours, opening channels for new specials and specially priced combos. Our Happy Hour laws – like many others in this industry, are a throwback to earlier times, Blue laws, and control, not reflective of today’s consumers or markets. It’s time to allow liquor licensees to make these financial decisions for themselves.
  5. Mixed drinks to go. Legislation to do this has passed the House twice with 170 votes or more. During the Covid-19 restrictions, this gave our members a small opportunity to maintain cash flow and expand offerings, without any increase in the incidence of liquor related accidents or arrests.